I’ve been wanting to read a good cozy for a long time. I pick them up, start reading and get bored. The writing is fine, the story is even fine. There are dead bodies and usually a romantic possibility. So…gosh. I know a lot of them lack good humor, but even without that, I usually enjoy an intriguing mystery.
I finally figured it out. It’s a lack of an interesting career. All my favorite cozies have two things in common: Humor and a very interesting career for the main. Elizabeth Peters? She has two interesting characters–Vicky Bliss is the director of a UK museum for most of the series. Amelia Peabody is an Egyptologist! There’s not a ton of in-depth job description in either series, but there’s enough that you get a sense of culture, politics, job duties and the setting is always very interesting. A dark museum at night, stolen paintings, a dark tomb…you get the idea.
Julie Moffett has a kind of spy thing going, but her main, Lexi, also has a very interesting job. Lexi works at various computer companies and that leaves open some pretty interesting possibilities: company politics, various settings, career climbing for a female, interesting job problems as well as case problems, and let’s face it–I have a computer background so I happen to find the setting quite interesting.
The last seven or twelve cozies I’ve tried have all been pretty mundane: flower shop (I love gardening probably forty times more than the next person. I’ve even taken a flower arrangement course–under duress, if you must know, but yanno, it’s hard to get too excited about flowers. Stick’m in a vase and I’m good. As for a book theme, no one has ever died by getting beaten to death by posies, roses or blue bonnets).
There have been books featuring caterers, cooks, sewing experts (yeah, I know I could probably use the tips in that one, but honestly, when was the last time you read a murder mystery that involved a sewing machine that was programmed to be the murder weapon? Hmm. That would be cool, wouldn’t it??? But in reality, until that book comes along, reading about sewing just fills me with clothing envy because the main in these types of books always has great clothes that fit. The last time I had an outfit that fit was NOT when I sewed it.)
I have therefore concluded that the world needs more cozies that involve computer companies, morgues (because that just seems necessary somehow and who could possibly be bored with a morgue??), foreign affairs and any normal job is fine, but make the character a spy or undercover agent too. Because while I love teachers, I just cannot get too excited about a professor going to class all day and then solving a mystery on the side. He or she needs to be a covert operator, spying on the money passing hands in the sports program (because we all know there is money in sports). Or perhaps he can spy on the administration but only while hand gliding over the administrator’s private estate. Once he discovers that rhinos are being stored there for auction to the highest bidder (for their black-market horns) I bet all hell will break loose–especially if he crashes that glider into a rhino area. Gosh. I hope he makes it out alive…
I think it is quite possible that I *never* ever need to read another cozy where the main is a reporter. I’ve read somewhere around 60,000 of them and while the first few were interesting, unless the reporter is on the sidelines of a Packer game spying on sideline betting and then running from a 300 pound lineman, I’m probably not going to read it. But I just *know* that there is much intrigue to be found in sports–surely there is a dead body or two that can be found–and think of all the politics! Think of the backstabbing (literal and figurative) that must go on! There would be enough suspects and red herrings for several books.
I think a rock and roll band cozy would be neat too. But of course the main has to use the tour as an opportunity to get into certain venues to spy and collect information on a much larger case. Perhaps it’s all about smuggled and stolen instruments. And everyone knows there is opportunity to add poison to the catered food in such a place. Or while the band is onstage making music (or noise as the case may be) think of all the murders that could take place! Valuable instruments could be stolen! The piano could be packed with drugs! The neighbor’s cat might have gone to sleep in that piano and just IMAGINE the squawking and howling that would occur when the first note is hit.
I wouldn’t mind reading another cozy where the main is a guy just let out of prison who gets asked by the police to do some undercover work. Think of the danger…is he really switching sides? Or will his old habits run true??? (The book Put a Lid on It by Donald Westlake has a similar theme to this. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you hurry to get to it! Wonderful read.)
I don’t want to read about tea, I want to drink it. Coffee is all fine and good so long as it is in tiramisu and on my plate, not my books–unless the main is a coffee taster who must fly to Guatemala and gets shot at a few times, maybe in Tikal by a monkey, just to complicate matters. I’d definitely like to read about the sordid world of chocolate and that extra special cocoa plant that everyone is trying to cultivate. Such a chase could lead from the jungle to San Francisco. There needs to be a dark and gloomy warehouse scene and one with a vat of chocolate, recipes optional. I’m thinking that a giant hollow rabbit made from chocolate encased the murder victim, and it isn’t until the rabbit’s ear falls off that the body is discovered. That will keep you off your Easter treats for a while…
So. Anyone read anything good lately???
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